Faculty of Medicine Hosts Native Friendship Centre Youth
On November 24th, 2010 the Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University opened its doors to a group of Aboriginal youth to explore life as a medical student. Twenty-two youth from the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre (NFC) visited the anatomy labs and experienced a hands-on tutorial given by Dr. Shawkti Chandra about the wonders of the human body. From there, the group made their way to see “Stan” the patient simulator. Stan is programmed to provide medical students, residents, and practicing physicians with real-life scenarios to help them develop their clinical skills. Under the guidance of Luke Grenning, the group was able to experience Stan breathing, talking, and being sedated.
Following the lab visits, the NFC youth took part in a round-table discussion led by medical students. Faculty members, program coordinators, and elders from the Aboriginal community also participated. Topics explored were why med students chose to study medicine, what their daily week is like, and what the visitors could do to prepare for studying medicine.
The afternoon event could not have been possible without the efforts of numerous people, namely: Judy Foote, Dr. Shawkti Chandra, Dr. Carolyn Sturge Sparkes (AHI), Luke Grenning, Robin Purcell (youth coordinator), Taylor Ferrier (Métis Representative), and medical students Fady Kamel, Keon Hughes, Allison Pridham, Emily Osmond, Jillian Greene, and Brent Guy.
All those involved would like to see the visit grow in some form as an annual event. As a follow-up, Robin Purcell, Dr. Carolyn Sturge Sparkes, Taylor Ferrier, and other members of the Faculty of Medicine will meet to discuss how to make this possible. “It is my hope that this initiative begins to dovetail the Aboriginal Health Initiative [AHI]”, says Taylor Ferrier.